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Holy Cross and Navy kill basketball, resuscitate it in Patriot League quarterfinals

Offense is, actually, extremely bad

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Oregon vs Holy Cross James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It’s over guys. Basketball is dead. We can all go home now and watch soccer or something I guess. Navy and Holy Cross are to blame.

There are a lot of good things you can do in 20 minutes. You can make yourself a quick, healthy meal full of vegetables and protein! You could clean your living room! You can go for a run and get a few miles in! All good options!

The Midshipmen and Crusaders set their goals a little bit higher and instead decided to create a daring piece of performance art meant to question our beliefs about structures, faith, and jump shooting.

The basketball was bad.

After 20 minutes, the scoreboard read 19-12 with Navy in front.

It was exactly as excruciating as it looks.

Navy forced eight Holy Cross turnovers and grabbed nine offensive rebounds and used it to score precisely six field goals in 21 tries. Four of those field goals came on dunks (they missed one too, because of course). So on shots where a Midshipman’s hand was not literally forcing the ball down the net’s throat, Navy shot 12.5 percent. And they had a seven-point lead.

Holy Cross was no better.

The Crusaders went 4-19 from the floor, and their complete disinterest in crashing the offensive glass led to a blistering .462 points per possession. Holy Cross’s leading scorer in the first half had three points. Three. Three!

It was the perfect storm for bad basketball. Both of these teams reside in the cellar when it comes to tempo. Holy Cross checks in a 349th, making the 320th-fastest team in the country, Navy, look like set-your-hair-on-fire basketball comparatively.

Ask anyone who is familiar with the “rivalry” between Holy Cross head coach, Bill Carmody, and Navy head coach, Ed DeChellis, and they’ll tell you how painful it is when they go head to head. Holy Cross’s Princeton-style offense gets bogged down by DeChellis’s zone, and Navy’s passes have a way of finding Crusaders’ hands in their trapping 1-3-1. Multiply all of that by postseason nerves and key players getting into foul trouble and you have one heck of a recipe for some good old fashioned plague basketball.

But, as a wise philosopher once said, “this is March.” Even despite 20 minutes of play that more closely resembled a rock fight than a basketball game, there was still, somehow, entertainment value. When the game tightened up late in the second half, every basket took on an extra bit of meaning because, who knows, that two-point lead with eight minutes left might actually be insurmountable. It isn’t often that a shot that gives a team its 45th point with 30 seconds left can be described as “exciting,” but this cash-out triple by Navy’s George Kiernan with a man in his grill was undeniably sweet.

LOOK AT MY GUY EVAN WIECK ON THE BENCH OVER THERE. Dude knew it was good from the second it left his hand. This game was undeniably extremely terrible, but even in the most ugly games of this season, odds are you’re going to find something worth sticking around for.

One thing’s for sure: The Bucknell Bison are going to be quaking in their boots seeing this red-hot Navy bunch come to town in the semifinals.